When I was about 12 I remember a notorious VHS doing the rounds at my school. It was called Driller Killer, a title that always left little to the imagination. I was never cool enough to receive this VHS, I only ever saw it exchanged in the bushes by the tyre wall. It would not be until now that I would discover Driller Killer is actually the second feature film made by the maverick American director Abel Ferrara after his debut porn film 9 Lives of a Wet Pussy.
Driller Killer is a great picture. Ferrara and his prominent jaw play the central role of the brilliantly named Reno Miller, a struggling artist who lives with his two girlfriends at a derelict apartment in an equally derelict part of NYC. Driven mad by his latest painiting, particuary the menacing eye of a Buffalo that dominates the piece, Miller transforms into the manic driller killer with the help of a radical utility belt he buys at the local hardware store. What follows are some superb and terrifying scenes of murder set against a vivid, hellish vision of New York comparable to the mean streets of Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.
The more I read about Ferrara the more I become intrigued. Not only did begin in porno (always interesting) after Driller Killer he would go on to make his most well known films Bad Lieutenant and King of New York. What interests me however is his William Gibson adaptation New Rose Hotel (based on a superb short story in Burning Chrome) and his pseudo-remake of Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Go Go Tales. With my appetite whetted by Driller Killer these two films are very high on my ‘to watch’ list and I’d be fascinated to hear from anyone who has seen them.
Anyway, what actually prompted this post is the ridiculous fact that you can download Driller Killer for free! And it’s legal! Driller Killer is not owned by anybody and resides along with other great pictures like Roger Corman’s The Terror and John Huston’s Beat the Devil, in the public domain. Driller Killer can be downloaded as a nifty .avi file here. At a brief and blistering 90 minutes it’s worth a look. After the perplexing and utterly bizarre opening scene you’ll be hooked. If not it’s worth continuing for the sounds of Tony Coca-Cola and the Roosters, a punk band who feature heavily on the soundtrack.
By the way, I reckon Driller Killer has a great poster and possibly the best tag-line I’ve ever read.